India is a nation of BROKEN PEOPLE who were made the prisoners of the Caste System. The Bramhinicle social order set up an invisible prison where aborigines-the erstwhile rulers of Pax-Indica thrown to rot for thousands of years. They were deprived of their basic human rights. They were robbed off their self-respect and honor. The caste system ghettoized the Indian civilization that taught people to hate each other. The mystery of Indian civilization is beyond the comprehension of anthropologists, scientists and thinkers. This land produced great souls like Mahaveera , Buddha, Asoka who got succumbed and evaporated in the acid of mysterious social order of Indian society. It is never an easy task to understand India and the Indians.
Indian society is divided in more than 6500 castes and sub-castes among which MATANG CASTE which has its presence majorly in the state of Maharashtra is a prominent one. The Matang Caste also known as ‘Mang’ is listed as Scheduled Caste, a designation which has replaced the former term ‘UNTOUCHABLE’. Their origins lie in the Narmada Valley of India, and they were formerly classified as a criminal tribe under the Criminal Tribes Acts of the British Raj. The caste dynamics and social politics in Maharashtra have always been influenced by the mobilization of the members of Mahars and Matangs (also known as ‘MANG’) communities at par with upper caste ‘Maratha’ people in the state.
The members of Matang community known as Mangs or Matangs has been persecuted and victimized for eternity under the iron feet of the Caste system. The legend of Mangirbaba could be the best evidence to support the hypothesis of cultural persecution and social victimization of this community. Mangirbaba is the important deity of Mangs of Marathwada region in the state of Maharashtra. The fair of Mangirbaba at Shendra, Dist. Aurangabad has been the most popular religious event and visited by Mangs in large numbers hailing from different parts of Maharashtra. When probed further to reach to the suspicious history of the temple of Mangirbaba it was learned that there was a brave’ Mang’ youth who was sacrificed by the established elites of the village and subsequently then declared the dead as Mangir Baba and thus the temple was built to glorify his sacrifice for the village however, there have been parallel narratives in the village as to the sacrifice of Brother and Sister from Matang Caste at the same place. It was further learned that there was an ancient tradition in place to bury alive a member of Matang Caste in the ‘base’ of construction of a ‘fort’ to bless and protect the place and secure it from dark energies and natural calamities. It has been observed that at the entrance of the fort of Amalner (Dist. Jalgaon) there is an image of Mangirbaba which is the irrefutable evidence of the dark history of Mang community. It is also learned that husband, wife and son of Mang community were sacrificed at the temple of Mangveer at Mangarool Tal. Sillod, Dist. Aurangabad. The cruel Bramhinicle social order glorified this inhuman tradition and declared the sacrificed Mangs as ‘MANG-VEER’ (The Mang Warrior). There are number of temples in Maharashtra constructed at the base of Forts and mansions dedicated to the ‘Mang-Veer’ which shows the level of brutalities committed against one community. The glorified sacrifices/murders of Mang people were nothing less than Genocide.
The dark history of Mang people not only gives goosebumps but make us think about the contradictions prevailing in the society. The murders were glorified in the name of religion. Sati tradition and Human Sacrifice was given sanction by the ‘system’ which did not leave any stone unturned to break the self-respect of the Dalits. Religion has been used by the system as a weapon to crush revolts. Even the Prince Siddhartha who reached to the Buddhahood by his own efforts was murdered by this system by declaring him as a 9th incarnation of Vishnu. Young wise men like Gautama The Buddha , Mahaveer were at the forefront of War against the brutalities of the then prevailing Sanatana or Vedic tradition. Baba Nanak Ji, Kabir Ji, Sant Tukaram maharaj ji, Sant Ravidas ji, Sant Ghasidas ji. Sant Gadgebaba ji were all made the victims of the caste- system.
Mang community broke the chains of their slavery for the very first time when they decided to be a part of the movement of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. What movement was that? What attracted the members of 6500 depressed classes to Ambedkar? Dr. Ambedkar was no God. He was a man of blood and flesh who by his own example taught the ‘untouchables’ to break the chains of slavery. Dr. Ambedkar was the first ‘AZAAD’ in ‘AZAAD’ Bharat. The struggle and sacrifice of Dr. Ambedkar inspired one Mang youth who became the voice of not only Mang community but the whole movement of social emancipation and liberation of the Dalits and Tribals, that youth was Anna Bhau Sathe who gave voice to the suffering of untouchables with his mighty, undefeatable pen.
The journey From Mangir Baba to Dr. B.R.Ambedkar and Anna Bhau sathe taught broken Mangs to stand for their own existence, however, it has been seen that this society is still under influence of the tradition that made them slave. As a social scientist I have observed that majority of Mang People still feels proud to associate themselves with the religion and religious traditions that dragged them from riches to rags. Social change is a difficult process. Transformation takes time. It takes immense courage to break the chains and prisons which deprived man of justice and liberty. Social change does not happen automatically, it is never a natural phenomenon.
Freedom is not a gift but a prize which has to be won with valour and sacrifices. From Gautama Buddha and Mahaveer to Phule, Shahu, Ambedkar, Periyar, and Annabhau, the world of ‘Broken People’ has seen great ‘saviours’ and warriors who uplifted them from the quicksand of religious slavery and social persecution. However, notwithstanding, it should be the duty of every member of persecuted communities of Dalits and Tribals to lead the struggle to annihilate the caste, discrimination and slavery. The ‘Struggle’ is the only legacy that the Dalits and Tribals have received from their ancestors. Great people have come and gone, but the CASTE is still alive. The struggle of thousands of years will have to be continued unless and until the society reach to an ideal equilibrium where ‘identities’ will be annihilated and the man would simply be known as a man.
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Mande Prabhakar (1983): ‘Gaongadyabaher’, Godavari Prakashan, Aurangabad, Maharashtra (Marathi)
Mande Prabhakar (2009): ‘Mang Aani Tyanche Magte’ Godavari Prakashan, Aurangabad, Maharashtra (Marathi)
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Aniruddha Vithal Babar, B.com, D.H.R.L., LLM (International Law and Human Rights), M.A. (Political Science with specialization in International Relations and Conflict Studies), Former Advocate; Bombay High Court and independent researcher with interdisciplinary temperament. He has respectable hold on political and Socio-legal philosophy and thought with research interests include International law, Tribal Jurisprudence (with special emphasis on the development of Naga Jurisprudence), Applied Politics, Idea of justice, Peace & Conflict Studies, Northeast Studies, Subaltern Studies and Human Rights. Presently he is pursuing his PhD in the interdisciplinary fields of Law, Governance and Conflict Management at SSLG, JAIPUR NATIONAL UNIVERSITY. He may be contacted at [email protected])